ENO’s Pirates of Penzance

I did it – I submitted the manuscript at the end of February. Who knew that the writing was actually the easy bit. All I will says is that editing is a whole different ball game and not one I particularly like. Research into book two has started and job hunting is frustrating. It seems for the time being I am living the dream as a history writer.

My reward to myself for submitting the Monmouth MS was a trip to the ENO. I hoped to see Rigoletto however sadly when I attempted to book the final performance anything I could justify paying for a ticket was long gone. Shame as I hear from a very reliable source that it was indeed very good. So I set about booking something and decided on Pirates of Penzance.

Image not my mine. The ship in the first scene ENO Pirates of Penzance 2017

Last night I learnt that I prefer Italian operas to Gilbert and Sullivan. Firstly I should say that the performance in its self was great some of the female singers were slightly weak and hard to hear – either that or I am going deaf. The staging was minimal and clever and I found it worked well, the costumery was superb it was just the content that I found not to my taste.

I was also pleasantly surprised that the much of the score was familiar and had been used in contemporary ways my favourite being the Element song which can be heard here.

I have never really been a big fan of pantomime and Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates is the theatrical lovechild of a Carry on film, Punch and Judy and Pantomime, fine in its place but not what I personally enjoy or wanted to see last night. In many ways a great show to bring children to in order to start their love affair with the theatre.

Image not mine. Andrew Shore as the Major General and Ashley Riches as the Pirate King

There was one stand out performance that I have to mention, the General Major stole the show and was performed by Andrew Shore. The evening was worth it just for his performance alone.

The minimal stage setting and props reminded me of the Globe in its simplicity. The staging of the boat in the first scene was very clever. The seats have not gotten any more comfortable and I must try and remember to bring a cushion for my next trip. For the regal sum of  £12 there was as far as I could see very little in the way of restriction in my view and in now way was a bad view. However if you hate heights the balcony is not recommended the steep steps are heady to walk up and down to your seats.

The last performance of this run is this Saturday, 25th March.

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